I think the word “idol” means nothing but worship, whether an individual or a group. In the written history of human culture, idols seem to always embody some mysterious power, persisting through the ages and fulfilling various emotional needs. In short, the idols in my artistic creations are like historical rays of light that will naturally reflect their own figures. A piece of literature is meant for the millennium, but its ups and downs are known already in the author’s heart.
(Lin Hairong, 2017)
Following the successful launch of Longmen Art Projects | Hong Kong this past Spring and its inaugural exhibition, Introspection & Exploration: Artistic Generations in Asia, Longmen Art Projects | Hong Kong is delighted to present Idol – New Works by Lin Hairong.
Born in 1975 in Heilongjiang, Lin received her MFA from Sichuan Fine Art Institute (SFAI) in 2006 and currently lives and works in Chongqing.
Idol gathers 19 new works of varying sizes completed since Lin Hairong’s 2014 solo exhibition, Alluring Figures. In addition to her popular mini portraits, this exhibition also features a series of small to medium-sized works, all coming together harmoniously in the same exhibition space. Utilizing her feminine subtlety and gentleness, Lin Hairong has created her own world infused with lighthearted and natural poetry in a dramatic and theatrical exhibition that is graceful, gorgeous, dignified, soothing, and charming. Lin’s themes covers multiple time periods and captures moments in history, reflecting the artist's inner world.
After studying Lin Hairong’s new works, Wang Lin (professor at SFAI, PH.D from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, and renowned art critic and curator) believes that through Lin’s works, the audience can discover the artist’s “restraint, calmness, and humor”. Lin lives within her art, so in other words, she lives in a kind of alternate world. As Milan Kundera once said: “Look into a lying, beautifying mirror so you can perceive yourself with trill and satisfaction”. As a woman, Lin has a special way to perceive life. She indulges herself in an alienated reality, appreciating life with fantasy. In her personal way, she lives a life of art, makes art that of living. She is the idol of characters in her paintings as well as herself. And sometimes, being an idol means no longer being who you really are, hence the constant search for true self.
By contrast, Ms. Shen Qilan (renowned writer, curator, and art critic with a PH.D in philosophy from the University of Münster, Germany) takes a more philosophical approach. “Every idol is man-made”. Lin Hairong is very aware what she paints are artificial products. “Idols are products of specific times in history. Literally idol shares similar meaning with marionette doll”. Through the quaint, theatrical drama in her works, Lin is subtlety joking with the audience. In scenes she has created, the subjects are often concentrating on doing something seemingly routine, but of little significance. The more serious and solemn they appear, the more ephemeral the drama. Lin Hairong’s works contain a touch of gentleness and subtleness. She acts like a child who knows some big secret but acts innocent and naive. She doesn’t want to expose the secret right away, she would rather present it as-is. Perhaps this is her way of compromise.
In a way it may seem like she’s compromising or incomplete, but they may as well be an implicit manifestation with solemnity in disguise from another perspective. Philosopher Francis Bacon told us centuries ago that human beings prefer to be fooled by illusions – hence the success of theatre.